Thursday, 14 April 2011

Week 2: Cross-country hike

In  the course's second week, we have been invited to consider  some different approaches  to two very important aspects of  teaching: academic search and  lesson planning.

I have never given much thought about how to search the web or which engine to use for this up until now. For me it has always been a sort of a reflex - googling.  However, 'NoodleTools' with its list of  categorized search engines  brought up some new interesting   instruments  to try out and  evaluate. It  made me realize only then  that I have different needs when going on the net  consequently causing  a  feeling  that  a whole new path of web searching appeared  in front of me  to be explored, walked upon and included  in the future strides of mine.  That does not necessarily  mean I will  give up good old Google that easily, on the contrary, but when stuck or in two minds (or bored?), I will reach for help on NoodleTools.  It's always  nice and safe to know there are alternatives at hand.

New perspectives on writing objectives and Bloom's Digital Taxonomy were a real treat.  I've written quite a number of objectives about the things  the students will have learned, skills they will have improved and points they will have reached by the end of the lesson with no regard to the conditions and the degree because these two very important aspects  were simply implied in my mind, as I saw it.   Only now do I see how vague and ambiguous that really was.  The ABCD objectives demand some serious thinking and precision therefore  sticking to them every single time when planning a lesson will  not only make our teaching much more better but also, paradoxically, easier. The time we invest in planning will pay off during the lesson.

For ending this blog, I will borrow  a metaphor for writing objectives from Jim Scrivener's 'Learning Teaching ' and accompany it with my own humble one about web searching .  If we think of a lesson as a cross-country hike, we know where we want to end  up even without seeing the end and getting there successfully  is our main objective. We have to make a number of  various decisions to make about the way - the speed, route, map,  aids... -  all of them related to the main decision about the objective.  If not precisely and clearly defined, our walk could still be enjoyable, but we might miss some really interesting sites, waste our time,  meet some unexpected problems and even be in a position to  get lost.  Also, if we already have a  dominant way of  taking a hike and scouting  the environment, it might be inspiring and enlightening  to give a try to some new, smaller and yet unexplored paths to see what's there in them for us.


  1. Dear Nada,
    Your reflections on The ABCD model and Bloom’s taxonomy attracted my interest more than your first reflections on web searching for the simple reason that web searching is a matter of simple personal discovery of an endless discovery of the net. Talking about the ABCD theory and Bloom’s taxonomy I have found some few deficiencies not in your way of seeing it but in the theory itself. I want to share these points with you since it seems that you are among the most serious and productive participants in our class.
    I do agree with you that the ABCD model is a very detailed approach that can easily work with an ICT lesson plan. Furthermore, this model can give us a close look to every detail in our job given the fact that it precisely outlines our plan in a narrow manner. Yet my reproach is to link it to Bloom’s taxonomy. I have read the suggested articles in details I have found some remarks that I think may be of great importance to be taken into consideration before applying such model:
    1-The ABCD model is a mere scope that may have deep roots in the behaviorist school therefore needs a lot of revision before being implemented
    2- Bloom’s taxonomy rather focuses in details with the cognitive aspect in learning, yet learning may also include further aspects (socio-cultural, psychological, communicative…)
    3- These theories- I guess- rather highlight teaching students as private singular individuals which is not always the case in teaching large groups of pupils.
    4- I think that applying such model will work better in English computer labs than in normal classes in a traditional old context
    5-one more defect is to erase the natural aspect in learning. Everything will be programmed in advance (form and content), therefore we will miss the contribution of the pupils themselves as active participants responsible for their own learning .
    Eventually I have a doubt that by such practices there will be a risk of turning our students to machines of searching and somehow like simulated robot working only according to a special program and stimulus…I am afraid of losing the human aspect in the process of teaching our students.
    I need your comments on vision perhaps we may develop deeper reflections next time/
    Looking forward for the soonest reply
    Your friend
    Khaled, Tunisia.

  2. Hello Khaled.

    First of all, thank you for your detailed and elaborate comment and for thinking highly of me.

    Somehow, I do not share your doubts about Bloom's taxonomy and its effect on our students. Even before, I've almost never started writing an objective without consulting the taxonomy first. I don't see it as programmed, but rather as organized and categorized and very useful and resourceful for that matter. Any lesson plan is only a framework, and it is us, the teachers and our students, the living beings who make the best of it in the classroom. Computers and technology, if used properly, can help bring people from other parts of the world together, for example, not only alienate those sitting next to each other in the same classroom. I feel that no one and nothing can take away and steal the human aspect, unless there was none in the first place, and that it all comes down to how creative and human a teacher is.

    I don't know if I answered your questions in the right way and if I am right at all, but if I thought differently, I probably wouldn't have been in the position to find about this course in the first place.



  3. Hi Nada!
    Sorry, it seems as if I have bothered you with my point of view. What I have written about were not questions or simple doubts, but rather fears and certainly empirical true real remarks that I thought are worthwhile to be assessed. In a way, I am trying to evalute and not taking things for granted, the strong and weak points in Theoretical linguistic approaches; I do always ask myself the question"to what extent...?" because any thing on earth has limits That's all!
    never mind my fears! I do enjoy using technology maybe even more than you...but underneath I am aware of its weak spots!
    Have nice time!
    khaled, Tunisia.

  4. Thank you, Khaled, for your explanation. And you do not bother me at all with any of your comments, I really enjoy reading them. Also, I think it is very important, if not essential, to develop a critical approach to any novelty, be it technology or something else, as you do.



  5. Hi Nada,
    Looking at your design and pictures in your blog, I am sure you all have good internet facilities there at your country. I wish we too have had such kind of boons
    I am sure more than fifty percent of Mr. Robert’s online participants are new to this “Noodletools “as you and me. As you have mentioned our needs grows more, if we have more. Now equipped with the best of best search engine (for teaching English of course) we will have the best solution for our needs. It is good that you wanted to use NoodleTools when you are bored, but I suggest that if you are trying for teaching and learning why not browsing NoodleTools at first and then going to other engine when you are bored, everybody always reflected and agreed that NoodleTools is the best, this is just a suggestion please.
    Writing objective was the insight to you, I am sure you started implementing style of writing objective as you planned and hope you will continue doing same. You could also share the strategies with your colleagues and conduct School Based In-service Programs on writing Objective. As we learned and accepted that this is universal style of writing objective(s).
    Bloom's Digital Taxonomy is the method introduced in our country sometimes at year 2000. We use only for preparing test papers and exams papers. We haven’t yet given thought on preparing objective using bloom’s Taxonomy.
    Your reflection and writing setups really help me learn the strategies. Your clips are attractive too. There are many more I could learn from you hope to do many intellectual conversation with you ahead.

    Keep up your good work.

    Jigme Norbu.

  6. Dear Nada
    I agree with you about the importance of clarity and precision in our goals to ensure their achievement, and if we look at our lives, we find that there are the goals we achieve and the objectives can not be achieved and this is due to several reasons, even under a style of "ABCD" All of our goals in life and we will see them definitely will.
    I think that we should not limit ourselves to the formulation of objectives within the duty to work, but must seek to activate this in our lives and involve all members of our family in the preparation of goals and this will create for us a successful life.


  7. This background theme is definitely a favourite.
    I really apreciate this opportunity of sharing points of view and difficulties and findings.

    The metaphore you chose is just great! A lesson is definitely demanding in terms of planing, preparation, physical and mental strength and when it reaches the goals it's one of the best feeling in the world. :)

  8. Hi Nada

    I agree with Sara, I enjoyed the extended metaphor. And I found your reflective post very enriching. I also appreciate the discussion you and Khaled are having...or had. Good ideas are worth examining.